[Marxism] Reliability of Data

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Mar 19 14:58:30 MST 2006

>The note below, came from another list I subscribe to... Question: Why is 
>it that we (leftists) tend to rely on World Bank and Economist data. Are 
>there any Marxis sources for reliable data? Is it because most of us tend 
>to be post-positivist that we do not focus on quantitative data? Are the 
>World Bank and The Economist (among other establishment/capitalist 
>sources) reliable? Why are they more reliable than others?

Sanjay G. Reddy and Thomas W. Pogge
Version 6.1 3
October 3rd, 2005
The World Bank's approach to estimating the extent, distribution and trend 
of global
income poverty is neither meaningful nor reliable. The Bank uses an arbitrary
international poverty line that is not adequately anchored in any 
specification of the real
requirements of human beings. Moreover, it employs a concept of purchasing 
"equivalence" that is neither well defined nor appropriate for poverty 
assessment. These
difficulties are inherent in the Bank's "money-metric" approach and cannot 
be credibly
overcome without dispensing with this approach altogether. In addition, the 
extrapolates incorrectly from limited data and thereby creates an appearance of
precision that masks the high probable error of its estimates. It is 
difficult to judge the
nature and extent of the errors in global poverty estimates that these 
three flaws produce.
However, there is reason to believe that the Bank's approach may have led it to
understate the extent of global income poverty and to infer without 
adequate justification
that global income poverty has steeply declined in the recent period. A new 
of global poverty assessment, focused directly on what is needed to achieve 
human requirements, is feasible and necessary. A practical approach to 
implementing an
alternative is described.

full: http://www.columbia.edu/~sr793/count.pdf 

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